The Most (and Least) Reliable Airlines to Fly

Qatar Airlines | ©  Ahmed Saffu/Unsplash
Qatar Airlines | © Ahmed Saffu/Unsplash
Photo of Nikki Vargas
Travel Editor21 December 2017

When it comes to flying, reliability is everything. To this day, I can still feel the seething frustration when Spirit Airlines cancelled my flight home for Christmas a few years back, offering me the option of either flying to Chicago after Christmas (a sin my family would never forgive) or renting a car.

Suffice to say, I ended up driving from New York to Chicago through the night in order to get home by the holidays. Lesson learned, I now pay extra for an airline that will get me to my destination.

Recently, UK medical travel insurance provider, Get Going, conducted research to determine the world’s most reliable and least reliable airlines to fly. Looking at factors such as percentage of delays, cancellations, safety rankings and delay waiting times, Get Going was able to rank the best airlines to fly and the ones to avoid at all costs. The results may actually surprise you as a few of our favorite air carriers were ranked least reliable.

Emirates | © Felix/Unsplash

For the most reliable, GoJet Airlines nabbed the number one spot with the lowest percentage of cancelled flights and the highest average customer rating. Major carriers such as KLM, Turkish Airlines, Emirates and Lufthansa also made the cut for most reliable with high safety ratings across the board and a lower than average percentage of delays.

For the least reliable air carriers, Air China was crowned the worst airline thanks to its low customer rating (a 4/10), average delay wait time (42 minutes) and high percentage of delayed flights (a whopping 72 percent). In a close second came Air Asia, while other budget Asian carriers such as Hong Kong Airlines and Hainan Airlines were included.

JetBlue | © Tomás Del Coro/Flickr

By far the biggest surprise in Get Going’s research is the inclusion of JetBlue, Air France and Virgin Atlantic on the least reliable list. These popular air carriers—particularly JetBlue and their low fare sales—tend to be fan favorites. According to Get Going, JetBlue has an average delay wait time of 70 minutes while nearly half of all Air France flights tend to be delayed.

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